The newly reimagined and reworked “Side Show” — the cult hit that fizzled out when it first opened on Broadway 17 years ago — reopened on Monday night at the St. James to an enthusiastic audience of friends, family and fans.
“Orange is the New Black’s” Lea DeLaria was in a chipper mood and looking great in a suit and bow tie. “What brings me out tonight? Free food and drink!” she quipped. “Free tickets, free food and drink, and I’m there. That’s the truth, and everybody’s thinking it, and I’m the only one that will say it.”
Joking aside, Broadway vet DeLaria said that she had seen the original production and was excited to see the nine new songs and re-tooling of the show by writer Bill Russell and composer Henry Krieger. “I expect there to be retooling in a show like this, that’s the main reason I’m here.”
After the premiere, director Bill Condon said that his original idea for revitalizing the show was to do a movie. Krieger persuaded Condon to bring it to the stage. The evolution of the show has taken eight years, Condon said. “I think it just keeps getting honed down more and more to the essential story, which is taking the emotional journey with these two girls.”
Condon’s next project, the movie “Mr. Holmes” starring Ian McKellen, will be out next year.
Russell and Krieger said after the premiere that it was a “dream” to watch the show develop from its original form, to the openings in San Diego, Washington D.C., and now New York. “What a night, what an audience!” said Russell. The cast was similarly exuberant at the reception they received. Erin Davie, who plays Daisy Hilton, said, “It honestly felt like a family reunion.”
(Pictured: Henry Krieger, director Bill Condon, stars Emily Padgett and Erin Davie and Bill Russell at opening night of “Side Show”)